Businessmen plead guilty to accumulating personal protective equipment on the rise

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The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, more informally known as the Federal Court of Brooklyn, in downtown Brooklyn. Photo: Rob Abruzzese / Brooklyn Eagle

At the Federal Courthouse in Central Islip on Wednesday, Allen Goldmeir and his brother Steven Goldmeir, owners of a toy company called the Millennium Products Group, pleaded guilty to hoarding personal protective equipment amid the COVID pandemic -19 and abusive customers who bought three- apply surgical masks to them in violation of the Defense Production Act of 1950. The proceedings were held before US State Judge James M. Wicks.

On March 18, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Defense Production Act was invoked, making it illegal to acquire medical supplies and devices designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as being scarce in order to hoard them or sell them for excessive prices.

According to court statements on Wednesday, in March and April 2020, the defendants used their toy company, MPG, to obtain millions of three-layer surgical masks from China for around $ 0.18 to $ 0.60 per mask. Almost immediately thereafter, the defendants sold 1,227,500 of these masks to the state of Oklahoma, among others, for $ 1.65 per mask – a mark-up of over 900% in many cases.

Pursuant to their agreement with the government, the defendants will pay $ 1 million in restitution to the state of Oklahoma prior to conviction in this case. In addition, the accused face up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $ 10,000.

Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, acting United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, deputy director in charge of the FBI, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the guilty pleas.

“The defendants selfishly sought to make millions of dollars in profit during an unprecedented public health crisis by hoarding and exorbitantly selling personal protective equipment that the state of Oklahoma desperately needed to protect the public health and safety and save lives. said Acting U.S. Attorney Kasulis. “This office will continue to do everything in its power to enforce the Defense Production Act and ensure that opportunists and defendants alike are held accountable for their indiscriminate acts of greed.”

“At the height of the pandemic, instances in which people sought to take advantage of the situation to the detriment of others were, unfortunately, an all too common occurrence. Over a year later, the

Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of NY Jacquelyn M. Kasulis. Photo courtesy of the United States Attorney’s Office,

continues to work to identify and hold accountable any business, person or entity whose intention was to do so. The Goldmeirer brothers pleaded guilty today for their role in a predatory pricing scheme, and they will now await conviction for their crimes, ”said FBI Deputy Director Driscoll.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General created the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Working Group to mobilize the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with government agencies to strengthen efforts to combat and prevent the pandemic fraud.

The government’s case is being handled by the office’s Long Island Criminal Division, with assistance from the Department of Justice’s Covid-19 Hoarding and Price-Gouging task force. Assistant United States Attorney Megan E. Farrell is in charge of the prosecution.


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